Wow.  The baby years are so intense.  Now my youngest is over one and I’m not pregnant.  It’s like I’m coming up for air for the first time in six years and I can’t believe how much my family has grown – including Stephan and me!  What an intense school life is.  How sweet the rewards of long and unrewarding hours of comforting babies, disciplining toddlers, loving the kid behind the temper tantrum, and patiently letting them “help” in the kitchen!


Joseph is an able, happy, curious, helpful boy and we are so thankful that we get to cherish life with him!  His academic abilities are still advancing at an unusual rate, thanks in large part to online resources that he can navigate himself since he can read.  The world is so different from when I homeschooled.  I am so excited to experience homeschooling in a whole new way.


Joseph has grown tremendously this year in his social skills.  He is still outgoing, but more sophisticated in his “bids” – ways of engaging strangers and friends.  He can entertain long hours by himself still, but always enjoys the time he gets to spend with neighborhood kids, folks at church, and visitors.


Joseph wanted to enter 1st grade on his birthday, and I told him he couldn’t do that if he were going to regular school, but in homeschool kindergarten he could decide to be done with kindergarten and start first grade, so I guess our first homeschool year is finished (though officially we have one more week.)  He was happy and accepting that he was in homeschool kindergarten and not at a school like all the other kids he knows (I’m working on getting together more often with other homeschoolers – but they aren’t exactly close!).  This was a great relief as he was set on going to “Gersag school” – though of course, if you do choose public school you don’t get that sort of choice and neither where we lived before no where we are now would he have been sent to Gersag.


Enough technical stuff.  Joseph had a great birthday, enjoying his treasure hunt to his LEGO fire boat and spending the rest of the day putting it together in the new (old) large table in the attic.  We had Graham Gem muffins as cake and Stephan took the day off so we could all be together as a family – Joseph’s request.


Most of my notes on Joseph go into the homeschool report, but there are a few from the “Cute Things” list.



Joseph had mono and had a hard time resting enough to recover, but did finally get over it.


“Gave ball back to ellie” – a note Joseph wrote, which goes with the note he wrote in Ellie’s column: “gave Joseph ball”


Wrote an email in Swiss German to Bappe.  We’ve never taught him how to write Swiss German.  I’m not even sure if he’s seen it, but he did a pretty good job trying phonetically.



Brachiates across the ladder with one hand per rung.


Stumbles onto Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Asks, “What is a triolgy?”

Stephan: “A trilogy is three books that belong together.”

Joseph: “But it can be four!”

Stephan: “The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a joke trilogy.”

Joseph: “Why is that funny?”


While he still doesn’t get plenty of jokes, he’s starting to appreciate them – again a sign of social growth!


Joseph still enjoys origami, Legos, biking, reading, things that are fast, cooking, DuoLingo (language learning), games, math drill programs (Big Brainz, Xtra Math), and recently again Khan Academy and much more.  Perhaps his favorite thing to do is help Daddy with projects – especially ones involving wood.


Joseph rarely is out of control and when he’s upset he can calm down.  He doesn’t feel things as intensely as Vivienne, but can still be quite disappointed.  He is good at respectful negotiation, and most of the time has a good attitude.  He can ask at any time to earn media time, and more often than not he is willing and able to do the task I set for him, like taking down the recycling to sort or cleaning up his workspace or a room.


My days with Joseph are like having a little adult around.  He can entertain himself, help others, and communicate respectfully and well.  Of course he has much to learn in terms of competencies and social skills, but he is well on the right path and I enjoy his company very much.  Sometimes I feel bad that I have to focus so much attention and energy on the others that I don’t have much quality time with him.  He’s left to his own devices a lot, but I am sure that is also good for him.  I hope to be more intentional about time with him this year so we can enjoy each other more!


Joseph: When I am six, may I get up at 5am?

Janet: Yes, you may.

Joseph:  When I am seven, I want to get up at 4:30am.

Janet: Do you think the older you are the earlier you get up?

Joseph: Yes.


Joseph has always been an early riser but I guess my model of early rising is making an impression (though I only get up around 5:15).


Maybe we’ll have more quality time in the mornings!  Or maybe I’ll let him binge on media time before breakfast.  If he learns that getting up early means getting in the things that are important to him, then maybe that’s not a bad lesson.  What do you think?


We love you, Joseph!  We look forward to watching you grow in the coming year!

Posted by harp on Tuesday, June 28, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Edit
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Happy Birthday, Joseph!

Janet, your comment "Sometimes I feel bad that I have to focus so much attention and energy on the others that I don’t have much quality time with him." Isn't this exactly what you say about Vivienne? And I think it was because you felt you spent too much time with Joseph! It sounds to me like you are giving everyone the amount of time they need. Make sure that is true for yourself!

Also, it will be interesting to see whether Joseph keeps up his early rising as he enters his teen years. I guess my inclination would not be to allow him to binge on media time every morning, maybe as a treat on Friday's or something. Is there something else special he could do that is easier to do while the other kids are still asleep? I'm thinking art or Legos or something like that where he doesn't have to try to keep the little ones away.

I know we will be amazed when we see you all again. The kids will have changed so much!

Posted by dstb on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Good point, Sarah. That is what she says about all of the kids. :) And herself and her husband, too. We never have enough time!

I go back and forth on media time, but I'm not worried about Janet allowing too much. She's very careful about it, though it's new territory these days and not all the risks/benefits are known. "Media time" has changed so much since it was just TV. I still keep in mind the admonitions of Marie Winn and others that it's not just the content of television that's the problem, but the act itself: passive, addictive, and who knows what it does to the brain.

But media time for Joseph (and all the grandkids, actually) is certainly not passive. And how do you say no to a kid who will clean house to earn the right to learn grammar and do math drills?

Posted by Linda Wightman on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 3:16 pm

Happy birthday!

Regarding early morning time. I thin kit would be great if he learned at an early age how to prioritize his morning free time. Let him have screen time, but also encourage him to think about what things he'd like most to get done that day. As Sarah said - are there things he wants to do without other people around? Is there a hard project that needs prime brain energy? Is there a "frog" that needs to be eaten and gotten over with? These are things that I'm sure his answers will vary quite from what adults' answers are, but it will put him on a good path to always answering those questions for himself and learning to make good use of his time. Keeping in mind that "good use" does not look the same to everyone! Right now, Jonathan practices piano and Swedish early, and Noah reads alone in the attic when he has extra time.

Posted by joyful on Sunday, July 03, 2016 at 11:18 pm

Thank you all for your thoughts. I am pondering them!

Posted by Janet on Monday, July 04, 2016 at 6:59 am
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